By DeVry University
In recent weeks, many states across the country have transitioned their schools to e-learning methods. For most parents, that means balancing work, meal planning, handling household duties – and now teaching. You may even be a college student trying to stay on top of your own studies as well.
While this may seem a bit overwhelming at first, remember that it’s all temporary and manageable. In fact, extended e-learning shares many similarities with homeschooling. Whether your kids are finishing their first year of preschool or their last year of high school, we’ve compiled some ideas on how to homeschool that can help them keep stay on track and be ready when their regular learning schedule resumes.
Here are twelve tips for homeschooling to help you manage your new responsibilities:
1. CREATE YOUR OWN SCHEDULE.
One of the best parts about homeschooling is that you don’t have to be confined to a specific routine. Be flexible and you’ll soon figure out a schedule that works best for your family. Feel free to plan around your mealtimes, work schedule or even your kid’s favorite TV program.
2. DESIGNATE A STUDY SPACE.
If possible, try to find a place in your home that you can dedicate specifically for studying, suggests NPR. Separating your living spaces from your learning space is an easy way to get your kids to change gears when it’s time to focus.
3. SET REASONABLE GOALS AND EXPECTATIONS.
This is one of the most important tips for homeschooling. If your child is struggling to stay motivated or getting frustrated with their schoolwork, take a minute to evaluate the expectations that have been set for them. Remember that each child learns differently, and that the current circumstances may be adding a layer of fear, uneasiness or loneliness. Talk with your child and their teacher and determine a plan that works best for everyone.
4. BE PATIENT.
While you're used to powering through multiple tasks in a day, it's important to consider that the rate at which your child learns may be different from yours or from other children. When assisting with schoolwork, try to let your child guide the pace for learning.
5. SET ASIDE TIME FOR CREATIVITY AND EXERCISE.
6. STAY CONNECTED WITH TEACHERS.
In most cases, your kid's teachers are just an email away. Don't be afraid to reach out when your child needs a little extra help, encouragement or clarification on an assignment, suggests K12.
7. LEAN ON THE EXPERTS.
Let's be honest – we're all a little rusty on our math skills. If you’re struggling with how to homeschool on a certain topic, know that there are an abundance of free online resources that can help.
8. SAVE TIME FOR LUNCH.
Mealtime can be something that gets easily overlooked or rushed, but doing so could potentially make things harder for you in the long run. Set aside at least 30 minutes for lunch, and be sure to serve healthy, filling foods to help curb hunger and avoid the need for more afternoon snack breaks.
9. SET LIMITS ON ELECTRONICS.
With e-learning in place, kids of all ages are spending more time on their devices. And even though it’s for a good cause, when you stack that with their regular usage it can add up to an awful lot of screen time. Take a look at your kid’s daily activity, and make sure to set a reasonable limit.
10. CONSIDER OFFERING REWARDS.
Most of us don't hand out incentives when our kids complete their ordinary school assignments – but these aren’t ordinary days. Consider offering small rewards to encourage participation and completion of assignments, suggests K12. Incentives such as an at-home movie night, one-on-one parent/child time or family game night are great options.
11. ADD LIFE SKILLS TO YOUR CURRICULUM.
As you spend more time at home, don't forget the value of teaching some basic life skills. Now can be a great opportunity for older kids and teens to help with everyday tasks such as cleaning, doing the laundry or cooking. Younger kids can help with tidying up or you can use this time to practice personal care skills like fastening buttons and tying shoes. These types of learning can be just as valuable as skills taught in the classroom.
12. GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK.
You've got a lot on your plate right now. Despite how you may feel, chances are you're doing a much better job than you realize. Don't forget to schedule a little time each day for yourself – even if that means waiting until the kids have gone to bed or allowing them to have a little extra TV time.
Putting even just a few of these tips for homeschooling into practice is a great first step towards finding balance in your new routine. Give yourself credit for all the hard work that you've done, and remember that we’re all in this together. With a little patience and creativity, we're sure you’ll learn how to homeschool in a way that works for you and your family.